Monument record SLY 088 - World War II air-raid shelter, Shotley.

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World War II air-raid shelter, Shotley.


Grid reference Centred TM 24353 34160 (624m by 123m)
Map sheet TM23SW


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

A World War II air raid shelter complex is visible as a cropmark and earthworks on aerial photographs from 1944 onwards, centred on TM24643420. The shelter complex is in two sections, and is in total circa 600m in length. On the western side of the B1456 road, the shelter is visible for a length of circa 230m, which runs in an inverted V shape from circa TM24323410 to circa TM24503420. On the eastern side of the road, the feature is 370m long and runs from TM24593422 to TM24943418. However, in 1944 photography the feature is only partially visible as a cropmark, which is crenellated in form (S1). The lower portion of the western length is not visible, and the upper part can be seen running along the edge of a sports field for 140m from TM24373420 to TM24503417. It is accompanied by what appears to be four pits, spaced equally along its length. The cropmark evidence on the eastern side runs from TM24603422 to TM24943420, with 11 associated pits, although part of its length not clear from the photographs. This evidence alone might suggest a First World war trench, back-filled with a dense material, thus creating what appears to be a negative cropmark. However, photographs from 1946 and 1947 reveal the full extent of the eastern length, and the true nature of the feature, showing it to be a World War II underground transverse shelter (S2-S4). The photographs from 1946 show the eastern area of shelter, apparently during and after the process of being uncovered and in-filled. The photographs from 1947 show the same procedure occurring in the western section. The associated pits are were fact entrances to the shelter, and the crenellated form of the shelter was intended to limit the damaging effects of a blast in the event of an explosion or direct bomb strike (S5). The shelter was probably intended for use both by the local civilian population and the military personnel at the nearby naval training institution. Although the western area is being redeveloped for housing by 1951, the eastern length of back-filled feature is visible as a cropmark on photographs up to 1987.

Marsh Lane, Shotley Gate, Shotley. Linear trench, cremaillere plan with traverses. Approx. 280 metres long. [Plotted from aerial photographs] (S7).
Shotley Gate, Shotley. Trench at perimeter of playing field. Cremaillere plan with traverses. [Plotted from aerial photographs] (S8).

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <S1> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106GLA/23 4021-2 06-JUL-1944.
  • <S2> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106G/UK 1492 3074-5 10-MAY-1946.
  • <S3> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106G/UK 1635 3014-5 09-JUL-1946.
  • <S4> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF CPE/UK 1937 3247-8 18-JAN-1947.
  • <S5> Verbal communication: Roger JC Thomas. 2001. Roger JC Thomas. MAY 2002.
  • <S6> Photograph: OS, AP. OS 87/146 8937-8 11-AUG-1987.
  • <S7> Digital archive: Defence of Britain Project archive. UORN: S0006457.
  • <S8> Digital archive: Defence of Britain Project archive. UORN: S0006459.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Feb 25 2013 4:52PM

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